Andy Villarreal

San Antonio, Texas, 1954 -

Available Works

Photo Gallery

By Arturo Infante Almeida (Art Specialist and Curator for The UTSA Art Collection Department)

Andy Villarreal is a son of the American Southwest, that expanse of geography where culture, language and history can sometimes overlap. Encountering his boldly painted narratives, one is reminded that the roots of identity run deep.  
Born on November 10, 1954 in San Antonio, Texas, Andy Villarreal received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Corpus Christi State University in 1978 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University in 1983. Since then, he has taught, lectured and exhibited his work extensively. His work is as beautiful as it is complex and as much about ancient history as it is about the present. 
That what is past is prologue is certainly evident in Andy Villarreal's radiantly painted stories. Engaging a vivid visual language steeped in bold color, expressive light and indigenous iconography, he abstracts, reveals and newly animates a thousand years of history.  On canvases, that, despite their size, always feel monumental, events of the recent past can all be found whirling, floating and hanging about. Warriors, serpents, jaguars and kings alike roam brightly hued Yucatán jungles.

Mythological creatures battle, strive and love alongside friends from old, new and imagined worlds. Ancient conflicts, long settled, spring to life in living color.   Customs, traditions, rituals and religion too are among the universal themes in work that speaks of conquest and hybrid cultures.  The ruined places and long forgotten Gods that persist in his work inform an intensely complex institutional memory. 

It has been said that "the past is not dead over even past".  With a poet's voice, a historian's eye and the grace of a noble teacher, Andy Villarreal reminds us of how little truly separates the past from the present.


By René Paul Barilleaux (Head of Curatorial Affairs, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas)

Andy A. Villarreal’s paintings can be broadly characterized by several unifying elements: an acid color palette; flattened, ambiguous space; expressive paint application; and, perhaps most important, images drawn from wide-ranging sources juxtaposed in ironic and irreverent ways. Villarreal scavenges anthropology, archeology, popular culture, and art history with an eye for the provocative, the eccentric, and the familiar. As he combines his subjects on the painting’s surface, he creates a new narrative that both pays homage to its origins and invites personal interpretation. While Villarreal titles his works to suggest this storytelling, their visual density and fusion of motifs lead to places mysterious and unknown.

This selection of paintings spans nearly a decade and represents the artist’s exploration of both his Mexican American heritage and global influences derived from his travels abroad. The paintings also testify to Villarreal’s keen sense of self as well as to his sense of empathy and compassion in the way they unify disparate images into a visual whole. In the end, it is by totally immersing into Andy A. Villarreal’s artwork that the viewer finds points of connection between the artist’s world and their own.


Artist Statement

My background as a North American, a Texan and a Hispanic male forms my aesthetics. Personal experiences and trips to the East and West coasts, the Southwest, Mexico and Yucatan and Europe enrich the themes in my work. The Mexican culture is a major source of inspiration to me and has become more prominent in my work of the past fifteen years. The intensity of my work derives from my pride and feelings towards my culture. Indigenous cultures are also a driving force in my work. The Indigenous peoples of varying times and places interact in my work. My work crosses cultures, portrays the human condition, the struggles, the harmony, the social injustice, and the celebration of life. Ongoing themes in my work combine history, mythology, and religion, past and present, real and contrived. The details of life, sex, violence, and humor join to enrich scenes of both normal and unusual activities. My work emphasizes these intense social and cultural content as well as formal and contemporary aesthetic elements. My work includes various architectures of signs and symbols from ancient civilizations. Viewers are invited to share my cultural experiences and draw their own interpretations.


Main Solo Exhibitions


1978 Corpus Christi Museum, Corpus Christi, Texas

1983 "Street People", Arizona State University- Harry Wood Art Gallery, Tempe, Arizona

1984 "Street People", Heritage Gallery, Los Angeles, California

1985 "Festive Cityscapes", Locus Gallery, San Antonio, Texas

1985 "Street People Series", Suzanne Brown Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona

1988 Joseph A. Cain Gallery- Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas

1988 Instituto Cultural Mexicano, HemisFair Plaza, San Antonio, Texas

1989 Galeria de la Raza Graphics, San Fransisco, California

1990 "Current Works", Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, Texas

1991 "Street People", Locus Gallery, San Antonio, Texas

1992 The Firehouse Gallery, Del Rio Council for Art, Del Rio, Texas

1992 "Hispanic Street People", Texas A&M University- University Activity Center Gallery, College Station, Texas

1994 "Harmony and Struggles", The Bath House Cultural Art Center, Dallas, Texas

1995 "Visual Dialogues of Time and Places", Galeria Sin Fronteras, Austin, Texas

1997 "New Art Works", Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, Texas

1998 "Recent Works", Blue Star Arts Complex- Galeria Ortiz, San Antonio, Texas

2002 "New Works", University of Incarnate Word- Semmes Gallery, San Antonio, Texas

2004 "Recent Works", Gallery 100, St. Philip’s College- Watson’s Fine Arts Center, San Antonio, Texas

2009 "Roots of an Indigenous Culture", Centro Cultural Aztlan, San Antonio, Texas

2010 "Roots of the Mayan Culture", University of Incarnate Word- Semmes Gallery, San Antonio, Texas

2011 "La Tierra de los Jaguares", La Pena Gallery, Austin, Texas

2012 "The Land of the Jaguars", St. Mary’s University- Blume Academic Library, San Antonio, Texas

2014 "Land of the Jaguars", Gallista Gallery, San Antonio, Texas

2015 "Mayan Influences", Galeria 409, Brownsville, Texas

2015 "Mesoamerican Culture", Carver Community Cultural Center, San Antonio, Texas

2015 Indigenous Meso American Culture, South Texas College, McAllen, Texas

2015 The Yucatan: The Land of the Jaguars, Our Lady of the Lake University, Blue Room, San Antonio, Texas

2016 The Spirits of the Jaguars, Centro Cultural Aztlan, San Antonio, Texas

2016 Meso American Spiritual Images from the Yucatan, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, Brownsville, Texas

2016 Latin American and Caribbean Forum College Conference, Hotel Tropicano, San Antonio, Texas

2016 Celebracion a la Cultura Antigua, Centro Matamorense para las Artes Visuales, Matamoros, Tamaulipas

2016 A Tribute to the Mayan Culture, Beyond Arts Gallery, Harlingen, Texas

2016 Dia de los Muertos Installation, University of Texas at San Antonio, Gallery 23, San Antonio, Texas

2017 Cultura Maya, Fiestas Mexicanas, Casa Mata Museo Matamoros, Tamaulipas

2017 Arte Maya de Yucatan, Instituto Matamorense para la Cultura y las Artes, Galeria Jaime Garza Salinas Matamoros, Tamaulipas

2017 Indigenous Meso American Culture, Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, Kerville, Texas

2017 Six Texas Artists, Eight Summer Days, One Cool Museum, McNay Museum, San Antonio, Texas

2018 Los Indígenas de Yucatán, Inverarte Art Gallery, San Antonio, Texas